published about 3 years ago
From an old folder, here’s a poker hand from about 2002:
I was playing $20-40 limit hold’em at Lucky Chances during the thinning hours. The game had gone from too-loose when it was full, to just-right when it was seven-handed, to not-nearly-as-good-as-it-just-was when the last white guy busted out, and now we were down to six players. The next dealer was standing behind the current dealer, which meant that on the next hand it would be time for the half-hour time collection of $5 per player. It also meant that the game might break, since time-collection time is when people tended to quit, and this game was at that tender stage where one falling domino could wreck it all.
It was my small blind and I posted it. The big blind quit. The next player, who would now be the big blind, quit. The next player posted the big blind. We were now down to four players. I called time out and asked the floorman to come over.
This was tricky, a double cusp. I was on the small blind cusp which meant I didn’t want to post my small blind unless I knew I was going to get full value for it by then getting to play my button and cutoff. And I was on a quitting cusp because the game was looking like it might not be worth playing in. But I didn’t want to pay the $5 house collection for just three hands. Plus, for all I knew, the game would break right after I played the small blind. Cusps.
The floorman knew there would be a rush for the cage if he charged us anything at all this time around, so he made the standard and proper ruling, and he said we could play the next half hour for free. We the people said okay, thank you, deal us in.
I posted the small blind. The next guy posted the big blind, and we were in action. The first player folded, the button folded, I now it was just me and the big blind, an opponent who I normally chop with. I gave him a question-mark look, asking with my eyes, “Do you want to chop?” He said “Okay, we chop this time, but after that, we play, we shorthand, we gamble.”
“Gamble, we gamble,” the other three of us sung somewhat in chorus. “No more chop chop. Now we play. We gamble.” There was that happy little moment when a shorthanded game settles into phase.
Next hand, I had the button. The under-the-gun player limped. Yamaha Tony we called him, because he wore the same jacket everyday for like three years that had the word Yamaha on it. I raised. One of the blinds called and the other blind folded. Tony called my raise (recall that call later!) and there were three of us heading to the flop.
The flop came. The blind checked, Tony checked, and I checked.
The turn came. The blind checked, Tony checked, and I checked.
The river came. The blind checked, Tony bet, I folded, and the blind folded. That was it. Tony won the most least contested pot of the night.
Tony, in an animated Chinese accent several pitches higher than usual, said, “You guys say you gamble you no gamble none of you gamble we going to gamble or go home?”
Then he turned over pocket aces.
And laughed. As did we all.
And went home. As did we all.